In what's definitely a negotiating tactic, but one that bears a kernel of truth, NBA Player's Association head Billy Hunter said recently that the 2011-2012 NBA season is very close to being cancelled.
His reasons are that a group of "hard-line" owners are undermining David Stern's negotiating window. Those owners are the ones who have come into the league recently, according to Hunter. I'm sure one of the reasons they're taking a harder line stance is that they paid a premium for those franchises and are seeing the value of said franchises falling quickly.
That's a big reason why owners and players are $800 million apart. Oh, and there has been no change or movement between the two sides since the lockout began on July 1. If you compare that to the NFL lockout, there was at least some agreement on things by both sides before that lockout started.
That took a long time to resolve, and the NBA's economic problems will probably mean theirs goes on longer. If they do cancel the upcoming season, much like the NHL did, how much will that hurt the league? How will it affect its TV deals? Advertising dollars? There will be a lot of bad consequences should that happen, which is what the NFL understood but which basketball may not.
In other news, Grantland breaks down the big storylines from the last NBA lockout and compares that to the current state of things. It's bad news for the Boston Celtics and possibly another older team like the Los Angeles Lakers. For the Rockets, however, the effect is a little murkier. Maybe the biggest negative for Houston will be a very uncertain free agent market, which then keeps this team from adding the superstar it so desperately needs.